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Qantas ‘fat shamed’ flyer, he says; airline reiterates exit-row rules


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Qantas Airways has a plan to create a new class of airline ticket for its long haul flights: sitting people in the cargo hold. Mike Janela explains why it might not be a bad thing.
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A passenger is claiming that Australian airline Qantas “fat shamed” him after asking him to move from an exit row due to his size.

A Qantas crew member “belittled” Darren Beales in front of his fellow passengers, according to Beales’ account of the incident to Australia’s Today.

She said that if passengers are “disabled” or “require an extended seat belt,” airline regulations wouldn’t allow them to sit in an exit row. 

More: Passengers hear ‘loud bang’ as plane’s engine shuts down, flight diverted

The situation embarrassed him. “I was just seeing everyone around me looking to find out what was going on,” he recounted to 9 News

Beales didn’t know that those who needed seat-belt extensions couldn’t sit in exit rows. However, Qantas lists this rule on its website.

Per the site, “In order to sit in an exit row seat, you must … not require the use of an infant/extension seat belt.”

“What I paid for was the extra leg room, which I never received,” he told Today. “I could have helped in an emergency,” he added.

A Qantas spokesperson told USA TODAY in a statement: “(Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority) provides guidance to airlines on the criteria for appropriate passengers to be seated in exit rows. Customers seated in an exit row may be called upon to assist crew members in the event of an emergency. If passengers are unable to meet this criteria, airlines, including Qantas, will ask passengers to change seats. Customers who purchase an exit row seat are told they must satisfy the requirements during the booking process.”

The airline also highlighted links to Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations and exit row seating roles for Qantas, Virgin and Air New Zealand.

More: Qantas CEO sends sweet response to 10-year-old boy who wants to start an airline

More: Qantas flight attendant was left shaking after ’body slam’ from passenger, witness says

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